Obama denies Africa Ebola wonder drug •Budgets $550m for Rapid Response squad to fight terrorists

Posted by News Express | 7 August 2014 | 3,773 times

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US President Barack Obama has turned down requests to send an experimental medicine for the treatment of Ebola to Africa. The Nigerian Government had disclosed yesterday that it has reached out to the United States Centre for Disease Control to request for the unapproved Ebola drug Zmapp, for the treatment of affected persons in Nigeria.

The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku and the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, told reporters after the Federal Executive Council meeting held in Abuja that the government was awaiting the response of the request it made last night to the centre in the US.

Health workers across West Africa had similarly appealed yesterday for urgent help in controlling the world’s worst ever outbreak as the death toll climbed to 932 and Liberia declared the state of emergency.

However, speaking at the US-African Summit in Washington, President Obama said it is “premature” to send an experimental medicine for the treatment of Ebola to West Africa, as he lacked enough information to green-light a promising medicine called ZMapp that was already used on two American aid workers who saw their conditions improve by varying degrees.

“We’ve got to let the science guide us and I don’t think all the information is in on whether this drug is helpful,” Aljazeera quoted Obama as saying. “The Ebola virus, both currently and in the past, is controllable if you have a strong public health infrastructure in place.

“The countries affected are the first to admit that what’s happened here is the public health systems have been overwhelmed. They weren't able to identify and then isolate cases quickly enough.

“As a consequence, it spread more rapidly than has been typical with the periodic Ebola outbreaks that occurred previously.”

However, Obama had cheering news for the 50 African leaders at the summit when he announced, during the closing session, plans to spend $110 million annually, for three to five years (totaling $330m-$550m), to help African nations develop rapid reaction peacekeeping forces.

From Boko Haram in Nigeria to al-Shabab in Somalia, African countries have struggled to curb violence and deadly attacks launched by militant groups.

Speaking through a translator, African Union chairman and President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said the unrest is one of the continent’s greatest challenges.

“We are facing major challenges in terms of peace and security: armed conflicts, illicit traffic, organized crime, wildlife traffic, arms contraband, drugs contraband,” VOA quoted Aziz as saying at the summit.

As Obama announced the rapid response peacekeeping partnership, he said it would help countries quickly deploy forces through United Nations or African Union Missions, VOA reported.

“We will join with six countries that in recent years have demonstrated a track record as peacekeepers – Ghana, Senegal, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda,” said Obama, adding: “We are going to invite countries beyond Africa to join us in supporting this effort because the entire world has a stake in the success of peacekeeping in Africa.”

The report further quoted Obama as saying that the US also has pledged to provide additional equipment to African peacekeepers in Somalia and the Central African Republic.

•Photo shows President Barack Obama of the USA.

Source: News Express

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